Which has the best CS101 (Introduction to Computer Science) course -- Coursera, Udacity or edX?

Posted in 'Hot Topics from Quora' started by Quora Feeds, Dec 12, 2016.

  1. Quora Feeds

    Quora Feeds Member

    David Venturi


    In 2016, Udacity and edX have the only true “Introduction to Computer Science courses. Coursera has intro to programming courses (which are different) and used to have a CS101, but it was deprecated and currently lives elsewhere. It isn’t in the same league as the Udacity and edX offerings in terms of length, difficulty, and presentation.

    There are three competing intro to computer science courses, as far as I can tell:

    1. Udacity CS101: Intro to Computer Science
    2. edX/Harvard CS50x: Introduction to Computer Science
    3. edX/MIT Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python

    I have completed Harvard CS50x and half of Udacity CS101 and enjoyed both very much (see footnotes for my detailed reviews). I can’t speak for the details of MIT’s offering, but all three courses are among the most reviewed and highest rated courses (> 4.5 / 5 stars) on Class Central and CourseTalk. You probably can’t go wrong with any of them. The best choice for you depends on fit.

    Here’s why you might choose one course over another:

    • You like shorter videos. Udacity does ~5 minute videos followed by multiple-choice and code quizzes. Harvard and MIT include longer lectures.
    • You want more of a challenge. Harvard’s and MIT’s offerings are harder than Udacity CS101, according to my experience (the former) and reviews (the latter).
    • You definitely want to learn Python / use Python in the future. Udacity and MIT focus on Python. Harvard uses C (60%), Python (30%), and Javascript (10%). The importance of learning C for a new programmer is discussed here.

    Again, all are great courses and there probably is no “best” one. I encourage those interested to check out the reviews, which are linked below. Good luck!

    My detailed reviews:


    All reviews:



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